Flesh

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

God has often penetrated time to reveal His presence to the world. In this particular instance, His presence transformed the world for all time.

He paid a tremendous price to accomplish the salvation of man. It required an emptying of His Godliness, becoming flesh, being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:6-8) In this form only could He identify completely with man.

As a result, He was tempted in all things (Hebrews 4:15). His flesh was real flesh. He came from the womb of a human being. He inherited, genetically, all the vulnerability and sensitivity that we experience in our flesh.

Jesus experienced sorrow (John 11:35), He experienced anger (John 2:13-16), He experienced every emotion to which the flesh is subject. He deliberately imposed these limits upon Himself so He could identify with man.

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Ultimately, He would take on all our sins and become our scapegoat. This was not possible had He remained God. As God, He could not die. It was necessary for Him to assume the mortality of flesh.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5,6)

The flesh is sinful. That is why it must die, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus could not redeem mankind without taking on the flesh of man. There had to be a blood sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22), and this couldn't be accomplished without flesh.

Even so, Jesus remained perfect. He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) Though He was in the flesh, Jesus realized He was the expression of God, bound to earth in a mortal body to fulfill the intention of the Father.

When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, the devil attacked Him the only way he could, by tempting His flesh. He first tried hunger, then pride, then a thirst for power, all characteristics of our fleshly nature. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Jesus was forced to live with His flesh throughout His life until it finally expressed itself most intensely in His final hours. In the garden of Gethsemane, as He prayed about His forthcoming sacrifice, He began to sweat, and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground (Luke 22:44). His flesh forced Him to ask the Father for a reprieve, though He knew it was not possible.

He relayed to His disciples that He was in a heated battle between His obedient spirit and His flesh which pleaded for self-preservation (Matthew 26:41). Finally, on the cross, His flesh made one last-ditch effort at survival when, in the midst of the agony, Jesus cried with a loud voice, "My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)

In the meantime, Satan never let up. As Jesus hung on the cross, Satan spoke through the people who watched. "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" (Matthew 27:40). The temptation of the flesh never stopped.

That should show us the tremendous battle we are in. Jesus made it clear: "Remember the word that I said to you, a slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you..(John 15:20).

As disciples of Christ, we chose our adversary. He is good at temptation and deception. However, we also chose our Ally. So long as we maintain our focus upon our Lord, we are victorious. Sometimes victory doesn't look like victory. The cross certainly didn't look victorious, but it was, in fact, the greatest victory in the history of the world.

Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (Hebrews 2:14,15).

The flesh fears death and is subject to the bondage of that fear. Bondage is always related to flesh. Flesh develops sinful habits and falls to temptations. We receive freedom from that bondage by submitting completely to Jesus Christ.

Jesus defeated Satan at the cross. As soon as we apply the cross to our problem, Satan loses his power in that problem. We apply the cross by taking the problem to Jesus. Victory over our flesh depends upon our willingness to take everything to the cross and release it to Jesus.

The flesh fights for survival until the very last moment, but eventually it has to face death. In the meantime, it demands preeminence, but it is never victorious so long as we emulate our Pattern and submit our will and our spirit into the hands of our loving Lord!

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today; What fleshly characteristic did I release to Jesus today?